Imagine an easy and satisfying dinner with hearty chicken, flavorful goat cheese, tasty sun-dried tomatoes, sweet and tangy balsamic vinegar – all topped with rich butter. Yes, this easy keto meal recipe needs only 5 ingredients, and it pleases the palates of the ketoers and non-ketoers alike – so simple, so good!
How to make these Goat Cheese, Balsamic, and Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Chicken – as it’s so mild-tasting – makes a hearty but not too heavy base for various dishes. With only a few carefully selected ingredients, you can make fireworks of flavors that satisfy even the pickiest eaters.
This dish uses skinless, boneless chicken breast halves. I recommend using relatively thin chicken breast halves as thick ones tend to make a bit bland result, and they simply take longer to bake. If your chicken breasts are thick, pound them until they are about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. You don’t want to pound them too thin as you still need to cut a slit to the breast horizontally so that you’ll get a pocket where you insert the stuffing.
Be careful when cutting the pockets. Don’t cut too deep. There should be about 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) meat left on the other side of the chicken breast. Use a very sharp knife – but don’t cut your fingers!
When choosing the balsamic vinegar, go for the real stuff – no syrups or artificially colored or flavored stuff. Syrups contain sugar and thus are not keto-friendly, and anything artificial is just not good for your health.
I’ve used sun-dried tomatoes that are not preserved in oil or brine, they are just simply dried and packed as is. I would have chosen sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil if I had found some, but unfortunately, there were only sun-dried tomatoes with sunflower oil in the store – a total no-no for me because of the high omega-6 fatty acid content of sunflower oil.
If you find sun-dried tomatoes preserved in olive oil, by all means, choose them. Just drain the tomatoes well before chopping them into pieces.
For the goat cheese, I prefer to use soft goat cheese. Its melt-in-the-mouth texture and rich taste are just like made for stuffing.
Last but not least, once you have stuffed the chicken breasts with sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese, you’ll top everything with a good pat of butter. Butter also adds up to the flavor of the liquid that gathers to the bottom of the baking dish. Serve the buttery liquid as a delicious sauce.
That’s it, let’s take a look at how to prepare this simple yet super flavorful keto chicken dish:
Take 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves.
Cut each chicken breast from one side horizontally to make a pocket.
Here we go. (Not the prettiest sight in the world, but this is going to be delicious, believe me!)
Place the pocketed chicken breasts into a glass or ceramic baking dish.
Take 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.
Brush the interior and the top of each chicken breast with the balsamic vinegar.
Take 1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
Stuff each chicken breast with the sun-dried tomatoes.
Take 4 oz (115 g) crumbled soft goat cheese.
Stuff the chicken breasts also with the goat cheese.
Close the chicken breasts and secure with toothpicks.
Take 4 tablespoons (2 oz = 60 g) of softened butter.
Divide it on top of each chicken breast.
Here we go, ready for the oven.
Bake at 350 °F (175 °C) for 30 minutes, or until the juices run clear.
Remove from the oven.
Remove the toothpicks.
Serve with the liquid on the bottom of the baking dish as a sauce.
How I came up with this easy keto chicken recipe
For some time, I’ve had an idea for goat cheese and balsamic stuffed chicken breasts in my idea list. This week seemed to be just the perfect time to work on this idea and develop the recipe. Again, busy life needs easy and simple — yet tasty — recipes.
So, I started my ideation. My first plan was to cook the vinegar in a skillet to reduce it into a syrupy consistency, however, I realized it might become too high in carbs. I concluded that if I cooked it quickly with a pinch of keto-friendly thickener such as xanthan gum, guar gum, or glucomannan, it would get thick without too much carbs.
As I still had room for one more ingredient to reach my five-ingredient limit, I thought I could add onion powder to enhance flavors naturally. I use onion powder anyway anywhere. Hmm, maybe it won’t lend enough flavor in the end, I hesitated.
Moreover, I was afraid the dish turns out to be too sharp with sharp goat cheese and sharp balsamic vinegar, so I needed something to tame and balance the sharpness. Balsamic vinegar overpowers other flavors so easily. I decided to drop the idea of cooking the vinegar with thickener and decided just brush the chicken breasts in and out with a little amount of balsamic vinegar. Like that, there is a hint of delicious balsamic flavor all over the chicken but not that much that it would mask other flavors.
After some pondering, I thought sun-dried tomatoes would be a great add-on to this dish. Sun-dried tomatoes are flavorful and thus an excellent ingredient to balance out the sharpness. Furthermore, tomato and goat cheese go well together – and naturally, tomato and balsamic vinegar is a match made in heaven; just think of Caprese salad. I didn’t want to add fresh tomatoes as I was afraid the dish gets too watery, so sun-dried tomatoes were just the perfect ingredient from this perspective as well.
There was still room for yet one ingredient. As chicken is practically fat-free, I decided to top the stuffed breasts with real butter to take the richness to an entirely new level. Also, when butter slides to the bottom of the baking dish during baking and combines with the liquid from the chicken, it makes an incredibly delicious sauce, I concluded.
Now, when I had my five ingredients, I was pondering the amounts next. I decided to make 4 servings, so I took 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, 1/4 cup (60 ml) balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped sun-dried tomatoes, 4 oz (115 g) crumbled soft goat cheese, and 4 tablespoons softened salted butter. As there were so many salty ingredients, I thought the dish didn’t need any added salt.
When I started brushing the chicken breasts with the balsamic vinegar, I saw that the 1/4 cup (60 ml) that I had reserved was clearly too much. Half of that seemed to be enough, so there are only 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar in the final recipe, which is just the perfect amount to lend enough taste but not too much that it would overpower other flavors.
All in all, I was really happy with my recipe as it turned out very delicious. Especially happy I was about the butter that was just like icing on the cake, complementing the other ingredients supremely. Wonderful!
Here’s the recipe for you to enjoy:
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup = 60 ml chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- 4 oz = 115 g crumbled soft goat cheese
- 4 tablespoons = 2 oz = 60 g salted butter, softened
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C).
- Cut each chicken breast from one side horizontally to make a pocket.
- Place the chicken breasts into a glass or ceramic baking dish.
- Brush the interior and the top of each chicken breast with the balsamic vinegar.
- Stuff each chicken breast with the sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese.
- Close the chicken breasts and secure with toothpicks.
- Divide the butter on each chicken breast.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until the juices run clear.
- Remove the toothpicks. Serve with the liquid in the bottom of the baking dish as a sauce.
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Low Sugar, So Simple: 100 Delicious Low-Sugar, Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Recipes for Eating Clean and Living Healthy
Kerrygold Pure Irish Grass-fed Butter
365 by Whole Foods Market, Tomatoes Sundried In Extra Virgin Olive Oil Organic, 8.5 Ounce
Sun-Dried Tomatoes, 2 lbs, USDA Organic, Naturally dried with salt, No Sulphur, No preservatives, Just Dried Tomato Halves, Kosher, Raw, Non-GMO
Giuseppe Giusti Gran Deposito Aceto Balsamico Di Modena Aged Artisan Italian Balsamic Wine Vinegar, 8.45 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
Villa Manodori Balsamic Vinegar, 1 Bottle (8.5 Fl Oz)
|Nutrition information||In total||Per serving if 4 servings in total|
|Protein||122.8 g||30.7 g|
|Fat||64.6 g||16.2 g|
|Net carbs||15.3 g||3.8 g|
|kcal||1138 kcal||285 kcal|
Tips for variations
As chicken is such a versatile ingredient, you can vary this dish endlessly. Try, for example, the following tweaks:
- To reduce the carbs to the minimum, omit the sun-dried tomatoes. That tiny amount of balsamic doesn’t contain that much carbs, and it’s lending a superb taste, so I don’t recommend omitting the balsamic vinegar.
- You can replace the sun-dried tomatoes with chopped and cooked mushrooms (maybe cooked together with a small chopped onion). Like this, the carb count reduces as well since mushrooms are lower in carbs than sun-dried tomatoes.
- Talking about onions: feel free to add chopped and cooked onion, spring onion, leek, or red onion to the stuffing for even more substantial fireworks of flavors.
- For all you garlic lovers out there, feel free to add a couple of crushed garlic cloves to the stuffing. If you prefer milder garlic flavor, cook the crushed cloves first in olive oil. If you fancy stronger flavors, add the raw crushed garlic to the stuffing.
- As a fascinating and crunchy twist, add 1/4 cup (60 ml) pine nuts (pine kernels) or other chopped low-carb nuts like walnuts, pecans, almonds, or macadamias to the stuffing. Although hazelnuts are also very low in carbs, I don’t recommend them as, in my opinion, their flavor doesn’t match the other flavors in this dish.
- If you are not a fan of goat cheese, any flavorful and sharp cheese — or why not mild cheese as well — goes with this dish. For sharp cheese, try shredded Cheddar, Swiss, or Gruyère cheese. For milder versions, try Camembert or Brie. Plain cream cheese is another terrific option to replace goat cheese.
- For those who fancy fiery flavors, you can add a trickle of Sriracha sauce to the stuffing. Other spicy seasonings like cayenne, chili flakes, or red pepper flakes go well, too.
- And yes, if you can’t live without your S&P, feel free to add as much (natural!) salt and freshly ground black pepper as you need.
Guess where I am — again? Yes, I’m in Greece! This time, I came to the beautiful island of Corfu. When I arrived, it was raining, but the temperature is quite warm, currently 64 °F (18 °C). Well, at least it’s warm compared to Finland, where it was snowing when I left. So, I prefer rainy and warm weather to freezing and snowy weather.
I’m accommodated in an enchanting small stone-built villa with a private swimming pool outside.
There is a garden surrounding the house, and everything is so beautifully green. I’ve always dreamed of seeing a lemon tree from my window (not possible in Finland!), so now I’m pretty close to my dream. Unfortunately, there are no lemons in the trees, and I think, in fact, they are orange trees, but hey, it’s a big leap towards my dream anyway!